Coming Soon: Louis Roederer Cristal 2008


Louis Roederer Cristal 2008: the best ever vintage?

 

 

Our most recent tasting of Cristal 2008 with Chef de Cave Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon

As of 30th May 2018, we have a very limited number of cases available at £730.00 per 6*75cl case under bond.
Call Nick or Chris 020 7359 1608 quickly to avoid missing out.

This pre-release offer sold out very quickly.
We can wait list you for the main release of the champagne later in the year, likely September.

 

The 2008 vintage was unlike any other in Champagne. A season that favoured all three grape varieties, it was a continental year: intense and hot with scorching temperatures. Beautiful September weather crowned a perfect summer, with sunny days supplying ripeness and cool nights contributing high acidity. Expectations for this vintage have consequently been high from the outset and have gradually built into pandemonium over the last few years.

Thus, when Louis Roederer Chef de Cave Jean-Baptiste L√©caillon made the decision to release Cristal 2009 in February 2017 before Cristal 2008 – the first time in history that the house have released Cristal vintages non-consecutively – the rumour mill began in earnest. L√©caillon commented at the time, simply:¬†‚ÄúI¬†think the 2008 needs more time on lees.‚ÄĚ

Louis Roederer Cristal 2008 is therefore the first ever vintage to undergo a full ten years of ageing, a process which has lent the finished product a remarkable level of maturity.¬†Our first introduction to Cristal 2008 came at a tasting in March 2017, during which L√©caillon teased that “2008 is almost my dream”.

 

“The Cristal 2008 is deep, intense and masterful. It offers the quintessential reflection of its chalk soils which lend it its velvety texture and delicate tension”¬†‚ÄĒ Jean-Baptiste L√©caillon, Chef de Cave

 

Too early for a preview tasting, we had to wait until our visit in August 2017¬†to taste our first sample. “Potentially better than 2002… 2008 is the 1996 of our dreams,” L√©caillon told us. Explaining that picking commenced too early in 1996 and that they should have done more malolactic fermentation, L√©caillon was determined not to make the same mistakes again. “We improved on this in 2008 with 16% malo and now the 2008s are the perfect 1996s,” he said.

The bottle we tasted then was a trial sample and had a dosage of just 8 g/L, the lowest ever for Cristal. However, when we returned to Reims for a¬†vins clairs tasting last month, L√©caillon shared with us the confirmed final blend of Cristal 2008 and revealed that the dosage had been lowered further. “Dosage is the search for purity… it lacked the race and vivacity desired [at 8 g/L], so we dropped it to 7.75 g/L,” he told us.

 

Louis Roederer Cristal 2008 | 19.5/20
Lees Ageing: 8 Years | Disgorged: October 2017 | Dosage: 7.75 g/L | Post-Disgorgement Ageing: 6 Months
So light on the palate but has such richness. This has so much power and has loads of elements: tropical fruits, subtlety, elegance and lightness of touch. I would have difficulty picking this over 2002 or indeed 1988! Stunning.

 

Each time we have tasted it, Cristal 2008 has just got better and better, embodying¬†the concentration, intensity, energy and complexity of the vintage. Explaining his prediction that 2008 could surpass 2002, L√©caillon said: “the concentration of 2002 is the result of wind, but the concentration of 2008 is soil-related, thanks to the very long growing season.”

Interestingly, during our most recent tasting of Cristal 2008, in response to the speed with which we commented on the power of the nose and delicious richness of the palate, L√©caillon disclosed that the bottle had been open for an hour and added that “two hours was probably optimum.”

The 2008 vintage completes the holy triumvirate of outstanding vintages spaced six years apart: 1996, 2002 and 2008. And with L√©caillon building on the lessons learned from 1996, Cristal 2008 has potential to go down in history as one of Louis Roederer’s very best – ¬†a conclusion with which the critics concur. Jancis Robinson MW awarded it 19.5/20, her highest ever score for a vintage of Cristal blanc. Essi Avellan MW has given a 96/100, with an astounding ‘future potential score’ of 100/100 – an endorsement she has only previously awarded to Cristal Ros√© 2002. Similarly, Antonio Galloni has awarded a 98+/100, his highest ever score for Cristal.

 

Jancis Robinson MW | 19.5/20
I tasted a trial sample of a wine that is not yet disgorged. This will be the first time a Cristal has been launched at 10 years old. Dosage was just 8 g/l, the lowest ever. Lécaillon thinks 2008 is even better than 2002 potentially. Very persistent. This is a marvellous wine that is incredibly complete but obviously still youthful. Cristal followers are in for a major treat.

Essi Avellan MW | 96/100, Future Potential: 100/100
                          Tight, hugely promising nose still with restraint. There is immaculate purity and radiance to the chalk and toast nuanced nose full of cool, crisp fruit and baking spices complexity. A lovely feather light feeling yet fruit packed palate of fabulous electric vivacity. The finish is so long and mineral with a chalky bite promising great longevity. A wine that puts a big smile on my face.
Antonio Galloni | 98+/100
The 2008 Cristal is a real head-turner. Powerful, ample and explosive in all of its dimensions, the 2008 takes hold of the senses and never lets up. There is a crystalline purity to the flavors that is simply remarkable. Although still a baby, the 2008 looks like it will soon take its place alongside the greatest Cristals. Today, it is breathtaking.

Louis Roederer Cristal 2008 will be officially launched in the UK soon. To stay up to date with all of the latest champagne news and releases, subscribe to our newsletter.

 

Demand is guaranteed to be very high for Cristal 2008 – don’t miss out